He Said

So_young_by_IneedabandaidThwarted tears puddled underneath the promises
left behind in a young boy’s heart; abandoned love –
the foundation of trust torn apart

and he said he would be there for me but yet I barely
remember the features of his face. He left me standing
in an empty space with only the support from a single
teenage mother holding and keeping me strong –

she taught me how to be a man and made me feel
like I belonged.

Unanswered questions paralyzing the hope of memories
never made — empty dreams—
the truth of him leaving never fades

and he said he would always come back but the vision
of his image has disappeared from the mental maturity
of my mind. I grew up believing I never
needed him; I’ve walked miles in the fields of achievement
proving that his absence couldn’t break me

but I knew if he was there/I knew if his presence
played a factor in my life maybe I wouldn’t of had
so much fear

that I would be like him. He said he always thinks
about me but no amount of excuses can make up for thirty-six
years of missed birthday calls

or that missing face in a crowd cheering on an eighteen
year old celebrating the victory of manhood’s graduation;

no amount of whispered apologies can make up
for not seeing him in the stands of a stadium as I reached
a new level in obtaining the degree of life

but he said he had to make a sacrifice; he said he
couldn’t support me so he had to leave me
to find my own way of learning to ride a bike
on streets where a young black man was meant to fail;

he said he had to bail so I grew up playing catch
by myself with the shadow of a failure – for years
I thought I was the reason but in the extended hands
of rejection I found the worth in my reflection

to become my own man without him but he said
a real man matters the most in the eyes of his child
but my eyes don’t even recognize the name of his face
because what he didn’t say was goodbye.

© 2012
Tarringo T. Vaughan

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